WHO team in Wuhan says discussions open, meetings frank

While looking for clues to the origin of coronavirus in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, one of the World Health Organization investigators said the Chinese side provided a high degree of cooperation.

In a tweet, zoologist and team member Peter Daszak on Wednesday praised the meetings with Deputy Director Shi Zhengli with staff at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a virologist who together with Daszak tracked the origins of SARS, Which originated in China and resulted in the 2003 outbreak.

“Dr. Today’s highly important meeting with staff at WIV, including Shi Zhengli. Frank, open discussion. Key questions were asked and answered, ”Mr. Daszak tweeted. The team stayed at their hotel and did not schedule any field visits on Thursday.

Earlier, Mr Daszak tweeted media images outside the institute saying: “Thank you to the press for their patience and interest in bringing this news to the world. The work is moving forward and we are able to talk about the results as soon as possible. “The Wuhan Institute of Virology has collected extensive virus samples, alleging that it may have caused the virus to leak into the surrounding community. China has strongly denied that possibility and promoted unsafe theories that viruses may have originated elsewhere.

Along with the institute, the WHO team consisting of experts from 10 countries has visited hospitals, research institutes and a traditional market associated with the original outbreak.

Due to exhaustive research, it is likely to take years to confirm the origin of the virus, including the need to take animal samples, genetic analysis, and epidemiological studies to pin the outbreak’s animal reservoir. One possibility is that a wildlife hunter may have passed the virus to the merchants who took it to Wuhan but it has not yet been proven.

The first clusters of COVID-19 were detected in Wuhan in late 2019, prompting the government to close the city of 11 million under a 76-day strict lockdown.

China has since reported more than 89,000 cases and 4,600 deaths, with new cases largely concentrated in its northeast and local lockdowns and travel restrictions being imposed to prevent outbreaks.

New cases of local broadcasting fell to just 17 on Thursday as the Chinese heed government made a call to leave and stay for family visits during the Lunar New Year holiday later this month.

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